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SB-25 California Environmental Quality Act: projects funded by qualified opportunity zone funds or other public funds.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/30/2019 09:00 PM
SB25:v96#DOCUMENT

Revised  June 27, 2019 Senate Bill
No. 25


Introduced by Senators Caballero and Glazer
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Quirk-Silva)

December 03, 2018


An act to add and repeal Section 21168.6.9 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 25, as amended, Caballero. California Environmental Quality Act: projects funded by qualified opportunity zone funds or other public funds.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, of an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA establishes a procedure by which a person may seek judicial review of the decision of the lead agency made pursuant to CEQA.
This bill would, until January 1, 2025, establish specified procedures for the administrative and judicial review of the environmental review and approvals granted for projects that are funded, in whole or in part, by specified public funds or public agencies and that meet certain requirements. Because a public agency would be required to comply with those new procedures, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would apply certain require the Judicial Council, by September 1, 2020, to adopt rules of court Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The federal Investing in Opportunity Act, enacted as a part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Public Law 115-97), created tax incentives for investment in designated census tracts called qualified opportunity zones to spur growth in low-income communities by encouraging reinvestment of capital gains into certified opportunity funds.
(b) The Governor has nominated and the United States Department of the Treasury has certified 879 census tracts in California as qualified opportunity zones.
(c) The Strategic Growth Council funds projects that by their nature are intended to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
(d) The State of California currently lacks housing supply at all levels of affordability, and lacks the sufficient infrastructure to support sufficient housing growth.
(e) It is in the interest of the state to expedite judicial review of these projects, as appropriate, while protecting the environment and the right of the public to review, comment on, and, if necessary, seek judicial review of, the adequacy of the environmental impact report for the project.
(f) A streamlined judicial review process for any challenges to environmental review of projects funded by qualified opportunity zone funds or other public funds is needed to provide investment certainty regarding those projects and to ensure efficient use of public resources.

SEC. 2.

 Section 21168.6.9 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21168.6.9.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Environmental review document” means any of the following:
(A) A determination that a project is exempt from this division.
(B) A negative declaration or mitigated negative declaration.
(C) An environmental impact report.
(2) “Qualified opportunity fund” has the same meaning as defined in subsection (d) of Section 1400Z-2 of Title 26 of the United States Code.
(3) “Qualified opportunity zone” means a census tract certified by the Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury as a qualified opportunity zone pursuant to Section 1400Z-1 of Title 26 of the United States Code.
(4) “Qualified project” means a project that meets the requirements of subdivision (b) and is financed, in whole or in part, by any of the following:
(A) A qualified opportunity fund.
(B) Moneys appropriated from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and allocated by the Strategic Growth Council.
(C) An enhanced infrastructure financing district.
(D) An affordable housing authority.
(E) A community revitalization and investment authority.
(F) A transit village development district.
(G) A housing sustainability district.
(H) A Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvements Act (NIFTI) district.
(I) Moneys allocated through the Department of Housing and Community Development.
(J) Moneys allocated through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
(K) Moneys allocated through the California Housing Finance Agency.
(L) Moneys allocated through the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank.
(M) An entity described in Division 10 (commencing with Section 24501) of, Division 11 (commencing with Section 120000) of, Division 12 (commencing with Section 130000) of, and Division 13.1 (commencing with Section 140280) of, the Public Utilities Code.
(5) “Skilled and trained workforce” has the same meaning as provided in Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 2600) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.
(b) (1) A project described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) shall meet all of the following requirements:
(A) The project receives Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification.
(B) The project does not result in any net emissions of greenhouse gases.
(C) The project has zero net energy emissions.
(D) If the project contains residential units, the project shall also meet all of the following:
(i) No more than 25 percent of the total square footage of the project shall be for commercial or retail uses.
(ii) Of the total number of residential units available, a minimum of 40 percent shall be for lower income families, as defined in Section 50079.5 of the Health and Safety Code. The project proponent shall provide to the appropriate local agency sufficient legal commitments to ensure the continued availability and use of those residential units at that rate for a period of at least 30 years.
(2) A project described in subparagraph (B) through (L), inclusive, of paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) shall include residential units that meet the requirements described in paragraph (1).
(3) A project described in subparagraph (M) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) shall be a planned transit project contained in a sustainable communities strategy that, upon the completion of the project, will result in a reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and vehicle miles traveled.
(4) The qualified project is not located in a very high fire hazard severity zone, as determined by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pursuant to Section 51178 of the Government Code, or within a high or very high fire hazard severity zone as indicated on maps adopted by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pursuant to Section 4202 of this code. This paragraph does not apply if the location is either of the following:
(A) A site excluded from the specific fire hazard severity zones by a local agency pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51179 of the Government Code.
(B) A site for which fire hazard mitigation measures have been adopted pursuant to existing building standards or state fire mitigation measures applicable to the development.
(c) Rules 3.2220 to 3.2237, inclusive, of the California Rules of Court, as may be amended by On or before September 1, 2020, the Judicial Council, shall adopt rules of court that apply to any action or proceeding brought to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the certification or adoption of an environmental review document for a qualified project that meets the requirements of subdivisions (b) and (d) or the granting of any approval for the qualified project, to require the action or proceeding, including any potential appeals therefrom, to be resolved, to the extent feasible, within 270 days of the filing of the certified record of proceedings with the court. On or before September 1, 2020, the Judicial Council shall amend the California Rules of Court, as necessary, to implement this subdivision.
(d) Except as provided in subdivision (e), the proponent of a qualified project shall do both of the following, as applicable:
(1) Certify to the local agency that either of the following is true, as applicable:
(A) The entirety of the project is a public work for purposes of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1720) of Part 7 of Division 2 of the Labor Code.
(B) If the project is not in its entirety a public work, that all construction workers employed in the execution of the project will be paid at least the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for the type of work and geographic area, as determined by the Director of Industrial Relations pursuant to Sections 1773 and 1773.9 of the Labor Code, except that apprentices registered in programs approved by the Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards may be paid at least the applicable apprentice prevailing rate. If the project is subject to this subparagraph, for those portions of the project that are not a public work, all of the following shall apply:
(i) The project proponent shall ensure that the prevailing wage requirement is included in all contracts for the performance of the work.
(ii) All contractors and subcontractors shall pay to all construction workers employed in the execution of the work at least the general prevailing rate of per diem wages, except that apprentices registered in programs approved byagreement that requires the payment of prevailing wages to all construction workers employed in the execution of the project and provides for enforcement of that obligation through an arbitration procedure. For purposes of this clause, “project labor agreement” has the same meaning as set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 2500 of the Public Contract Code.
(vi) Notwithstanding subdivision (c) of Section 1773.1 of the Labor Code, the requirement that employer payments not reduce the obligation to pay the hourly straight time or overtime wages found to be prevailing shall not apply if otherwise provided in a bona fide collective bargaining agreement covering the worker. The requirement to pay at least the general prevailing rate of per diem wages does not preclude use of an alternative workweek schedule adopted pursuant to Section 511 or 514 of the Labor Code.
(2) (A) Certify to the local agency that a skilled and trained workforce will be used to complete the project.
(B) If the project proponent has certified that a skilled and trained workforce will be used to complete the project, the following shall apply:
(i) The project proponent shall require in all contracts for the performance of work that every contractor and subcontractor at every tier will individually use a skilled and trained workforce to complete the project.
(ii) Every contractor and subcontractor shall use a skilled and trained workforce to complete the project.
(iii) Except as provided in clause (iv), the project proponent shall provide to the local agency, on a monthly basis while the project or contract is being performed, a report demonstrating compliance with Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 2600) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code. A monthly report provided to the local agency pursuant to this clause shall be a public record under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code) and shall be open to public inspection. A project proponent that fails to provide a monthly report demonstrating compliance with Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 2600) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code shall be subject to a civil penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per month for each month for which the report has not been provided. A contractor or subcontractor that fails to use a skilled and trained workforce shall be subject to a civil penalty of two hundred dollars ($200) per day for each worker employed in contravention of the skilled and trained workforce requirement. Penalties may be assessed by the Labor Commissioner within 18 months of completion of the project using the procedures for issuance of civil wage and penalty assessments set forth in Section 1741 of the Labor Code, and may be reviewed pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 1742 of the Labor Code. Penalties shall be paid to the State Public Works Enforcement Fund.
(iv) Clause (iii) shall not apply if all contractors and subcontractors performing work on the project are subject to a project labor agreement that requires compliance with the skilled and trained workforce requirement and provides for enforcement of that obligation through an arbitration procedure. For purposes of this clause, “project labor agreement” has the same meaning as set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 2500 of the Public Contract Code.
(e) Subdivision (d) does not apply to a qualified project if both of the following are met:
(1) The project includes 75 or fewer residential units.
(2) The project is not a public work for purposes of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1720) of Part 7 of Division 2 of the Labor Code.
(f) (1) The draft environmental review document and final environmental review document for a qualified project shall include a notice in not less than 12-point type stating the following:

THIS ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW DOCUMENT IS SUBJECT TO SECTION 21168.6.9 OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE, WHICH PROVIDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT THE LEAD AGENCY NEED NOT CONSIDER CERTAIN COMMENTS FILED AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD, IF ANY, FOR THE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW DOCUMENT. ANY JUDICIAL ACTION CHALLENGING THE CERTIFICATION OR ADOPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW DOCUMENT OR THE APPROVAL OF THE PROJECT DESCRIBED IN SECTION 21168.6.9 OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE IS SUBJECT TO THE PROCEDURES SET FORTH IN THAT SECTION. A COPY OF SECTION 21168.6.9 OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE IS INCLUDED IN THE APPENDIX TO THIS ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW DOCUMENT.

(2) The draft environmental review document and final environmental review document shall contain, as an appendix, the full text of this section.
(3) Within 10 days after the release of the draft environmental review document, if any, the lead agency shall conduct an informational workshop to inform the public of the key analyses and conclusions of that document.
(4) Within 10 days before the close of the public comment period, the lead agency shall hold a public hearing to receive testimony on the draft environmental review document. A transcript of the hearing shall be included as an appendix to the final environmental review document.
(5) (A) Within five days following the close of the public comment period, a commenter on the draft environmental impact report may submit to the lead agency a written request for nonbinding mediation. The lead agency and applicant shall participate in nonbinding mediation with all commenters who submitted timely comments on the draft environmental impact report and who requested the mediation. Mediation conducted pursuant to this paragraph shall end no later than 35 days after the close of the public comment period.
(B) A request for mediation shall identify all areas of dispute raised in the comment submitted by the commenter that are to be mediated.
(C) The lead agency shall select one or more mediators who shall be retired judges or recognized experts with at least five years experience in land use and environmental law or science, or mediation. The applicant shall bear the costs of mediation.
(D) A mediation session shall be conducted on each area of dispute with the parties requesting mediation on that area of dispute.
(E) The lead agency shall adopt, as a condition of approval, any measures agreed upon by the lead agency, the applicant, and any commenter who requested mediation. A commenter who agrees to a measure pursuant to this subparagraph shall not raise the issue addressed by that measure as a basis for an action or proceeding challenging the lead agency’s decision to certify the environmental impact report or to grant one or more initial project approvals.
(6) The lead agency need not consider written comments submitted after the close of the public comment period, unless those comments address any of the following:
(A) New issues raised in the response to comments by the lead agency.
(B) New information released by the public agency subsequent to the release of the draft environmental review document, such as new information set forth or embodied in a staff report, proposed permit, proposed resolution, ordinance, or similar documents.
(C) Changes made to the project after the close of the public comment period.
(D) Proposed conditions for approval, mitigation measures, or proposed findings required by Section 21081 or a proposed reporting and monitoring program required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 21081.6, if the lead agency releases those documents subsequent to the release of the draft environmental review document.
(E) New information that was not reasonably known and could not have been reasonably known during the public comment period.
(7) The lead agency shall file the notice required by subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 21108 or subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 21152 within five days after the approval or determination becomes final.
(g) (1) In addition to other requirements, a party bringing an action or proceeding pursuant to this division shall, within 10 days of the posting of the notice required pursuant to Section 21108 or 21152, notify, in writing, the lead agency and the real party in interest of its intent to file the action or proceeding. The court shall not accept for filing an action or proceeding from a party that fails to comply with this paragraph.
(2) The lead agency, upon receipt of the notice required pursuant to paragraph (1), shall prepare and certify the record of the proceedings in accordance with this subdivision and in accordance with Rule 3.2205 of the California Rules of Court. The applicant shall pay the lead agency for all costs of preparing and certifying the record of proceedings.
(h) (1) No later than three business days following the date of the release of the draft environmental review document, the lead agency shall make available to the public in a readily accessible electronic format the draft environmental review and all other documents submitted to or relied on by the lead agency in the preparation of the draft environmental impact report. A document prepared by the lead agency or submitted by the applicant after the date of the release of the draft environmental impact report that is a part of the record of the proceedings shall be made available to the public in a readily accessible electronic format within five business days after the document is prepared or received by the lead agency.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), documents submitted to or relied on by the lead agency that were not prepared specifically for the project and are copyright protected are not required to be made readily accessible in an electronic format. For those copyright protected documents, the lead agency shall make an index of the documents available in an electronic format no later than the date of the release of the draft environmental review document, or within five business days if the document is received or relied on by the lead agency after the release of the draft environmental impact report. The index must specify the libraries or lead agency offices in which hardcopies of the copyrighted materials are available for public review. The index shall specify the libraries or lead agency offices in which hardcopies of the copyrighted materials are available for public review.
(3) The lead agency shall encourage written comments on the project to be submitted in a readily accessible electronic format, and shall make any such comment available to the public in a readily accessible electronic format within five days of its receipt.
(4) Within seven business days after the receipt of any comment that is not in an electronic format, the lead agency shall convert that comment into a readily accessible electronic format and make it available to the public in that format.
(5) The lead agency shall indicate in the record of the proceedings comments received that were not considered by the lead agency pursuant to paragraph (6) of subdivision (f) and need not include the content of the comments as a part of the record.
(6) Within 45 days after the filing of the notice required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (g), the lead agency shall certify and lodge with the court the record of the proceedings for the approval or determination and shall provide an electronic copy of the record to a party that has submitted a written request for a copy. The lead agency may charge and collect a reasonable fee from a party requesting a copy of the record for the electronic copy, which shall not exceed the reasonable cost of reproducing that copy.
(7) Any dispute over the content of the record of the proceedings shall be resolved by the superior court. Unless the superior court directs otherwise, a party disputing the content of the record shall file a motion to augment the record at the time it files its initial brief.
(8) The contents of the record of proceedings shall be as set forth in subdivision (e) of Section 21167.6.
(i) Subdivision (f) and paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (h) do not apply to a determination that the project is exempt from this division.
(j) If a lead agency determines that a project is exempt from this division and is subject to this section, the lead agency shall file with the Office of Planning and Research a notice of exemption in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 21108 or subdivision (b) of Section 21152.
(k) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.
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REVISIONS:
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